Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!

May 2011 shower you with good fortune.

For me, 2011 will hence forth be known as ‘The Year of the Great Agent Safari.’

Zane is written, revised and re-revised up through chapter 17.

I have three chapters left to hammer into complete submission, and then I will spend a couple of weeks tinkering, polishing and trimming. Right now I am at 107K, but there are plenty of words to shed, and I’ll be able to trim it back to 100K fairly easily.

I have a query letter and synopsis ready to go and I will start querying select agents toward the end of January. I was hoping to have the book completely finished and ready for submission back in October or November and I might have made that deadline if I hadn’t decided to deepen the villain’s characterization. To do this, I ended up going back in and complicating the plot. This necessitated adding several scenes, as well as going into existing scenes and layering the new plot points through. It was a lot more work than I expected, but adds an additional layer of depth and tension. All told, when this project goes out on submissions, it will be close to eleven months since I’d sat down and wrote that first scene.

Back last fall I tossed Zane out on the contest circuit. I had three goals in mind when I did this. I wanted to final so I would have some credits for my query, and I was hoping for some agent/editor requests.

But I also needed feedback on a particular element in the manuscript—specifically the sensuality to suspense ratio and how the two were tied together. I knew from CPs/Beta readers that while everyone agreed the chapters were hot and the hero sexy, some readers had concerns with how I tied the heat and action together. Their concern was valid and I shared it to a certain extent. At that point it was running about 60% for how the sensuality was filtered through and about 40% against. There was no middle ground on this element, people either loved it or hated it. After five contests and twelve new sets of eyes it’s now riding at about 70% for 30% against.

However, another problem with the manuscript showed up through contest feedback, and this was an issue I hadn't been aware of. Quite a few judges mentioned they didn't get pulled into the story until the second page. So I revamped the opening off contest feedback. I hope it solves that slow opening.

Of the five contests I dumped Zane into, it finaled in two, came within a point of finaling in another, and came within three points of finaling in a fourth. It took first place in the romantic suspense category in the Launching a Star contest and I got a really cool engraved metal paperweight shaped like a star. Final ranking for The Linda Howard Award of Excellence hasn't been announced yet.

A couple things I have discovered about the new contest circuit since I started entering Zane.

Everyone has gone to electronic entries and paying through pay pal. In some ways this really simplifies things and saves money. No more postage! No more printing out x-amount of copies. On the down side, in all but one of the contests, when the judges received my entry it had severe formatting issues. Formatting issues that hadn’t been there when I sent. I know for a fact the wonky formatting cost me a final in one contest.

Other things I discovered while on the contest circuit.

Swearing is much more accepted then it was the last time I had a manuscript out on the circuit. Only one judge even mentioned the swearing in Zane, and she didn’t take any points off for it.

I do best in contests where one of the scores is dropped, and where there are five finalists. (Surprise! Not! LOL) I’m not sure I would have finaled in The Launching a Star contest if there hadn’t been five finalists. I wouldn't have finaled in the Linda Howard AOE if they hadn't dropped the one score. (Although it would have been very close) On the same boat, if two of the contests I didn’t final in had had five finalists, I’m pretty sure the entry would have finaled.

So, for 2011, I’ll be looking at entering Zane in contests with 5 finalists. I’m also going to try it in the paranormal category, since from what I'm seeing the Romantic Suspense category never gets any requests. I’ve already entered the new and improved first chapter in the paranormal category of The Great Expectations. This is a test, because while the plot rests on ESP, the suspense is much stronger than the paranormal element. We’ll see how it does.

In 2010, I trained myself to write every day, by getting up at 4:00 am and getting 2.5 hours of writing in before work.

This year I will be getting up a half an hour earlier, and writing for three hours. I am also going to make 2011 the year of building a presence on the web. In addition to the writing (which will always come first) I will be concentrating on blogging & I'm going to launch a website.

I'm really looking forward to 2011. I have this over whelming feeling of optimism. I think 2011 is going to be a great year for me.


  1. Ambitious goals. I used to get up early to write until I got pregnant and now I'm lucky to pull m'self out of bed in time to get to work. Heh. Glad you had such good luck on the contest circuit.

    Have a wonderful 2011.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Tory,

    I think being pregnant with twins is a GREAT reason NOT to get up early in the morning. You have a little boy too, don't you? I have tremendous respect for anyone who can produce a book while keeping a home and raising a family.

    I have such a hard time fitting the writing in and I'm single with no kids. I honestly don't know how you do it.

    I hope 2011 showers you with blessings!

  3. Great blog post, Trish. I think 2011 is going to be OUR year. I really do. Here if you need anything:)

  4. Thanks Martha,

    Here's to a great 2011 for both of us! One of the best things about 2010 was how many new friends I made, like you and Tory and a dozen others.

  5. I'm very new to reading blogs, but I clicked into yours & found your description of your writing process & contest entry experience very interesting. I'm a reader not a writer so no nothing about the world of you writers but appreciate your work immensely - keep it up! Happy New Year & good luck with those contests you mentioned.

  6. Great post Trish. I had the same thing happen to me when I subbed my pages to a contest--the damn formatting was screwed in a few places. That pissed me right off!!! It's not screwed on my computer.
    Here's to tons of success in 2011!

  7. Hi Brenda,

    Thanks for stopping by. I guess this formatting issue is fairly common. But its beginning to worry me that the formatting is going to go wonky when I start querying too. I'm thinking I'll submit in PDF format.

    I echo you on the hope of success in 2011. For both of us!

  8. Congrats on all your finals! Contests are so subjective, and so are editors and agents. 70% is great, and I hope you find the agent and editor who love Zane's book.

  9. You are so analytical! LOL. Congrats on the finals, and good luck on finding an agent this year. I know you will, you are a great writer!

  10. Hi Di,

    Thanks for stopping by. Writers would be nowhere without readers. In fact, every writer I know started off as a reader. Me included. That's actually one of my goals for this year. To read more. Some how the reading got lost in the writing.

    Happy New Year to you too. And thanks for the contest luck wishes. From your mouth to the contest judges' scoresheets. lol

  11. Thanks Edie,

    I can't wait to get Zane out there and get back to work on TCM. I'm trying to convince myself to take a break between the end of Zane and picking up TCM again. But I don't think I'm going to be able to.

    I think 2011 is going to be a very generous year for you too, and all the Magical Musing bloggers!

  12. Thanks Ronnie,

    You're a big part of the reason Zane is as strong as it is. Without your feedback, it wouldn't be the best book I've written.

    Now get back to work on Wallace!
    I really want to read that manuscript!

  13. Hi Trish!

    I'm in awe that you're getting up at 0400 to write. That's dedication! Wishing you lots of good writing karma this year!

    I'm off to shed some words. ;)


  14. Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for stopping by. For years I tried writing after work, but I was always so tired, and the creativity just wasn't there. My evil day job takes a lot of mental focus, so by the time I got home I never had any left over to spare.

    A little over a year ago I decided to stop screwing around. To get serious, which meant producing. And If I couldn't produce at night, I had to find a time when I could. Early morning before work turned out to be key. Now it’s not nearly as hard to get up as it was at first. Still, there are some mornings . . .

    Good luck to you in 2011.

  15. I love your energy! Here's to a fabulous 2011!

  16. Here's to a very successful 2011 for both of us!

    God lord girl, I checked out the goals you have listed on your blog for 2011. Talk about energy. You are going to be one busy new mama next year.